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Xperience April 2019

Official Publication of the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association

CONTENT, SPACE, TECHNOLOGY It all comes together at InfoComm 2019

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CONTENTS

28

Published by AVIXA™ and Systems Contractor News via its parent company Future US, Inc. CONTENT

FEATURES 14

Brad Grimes Editor Lillie Fujinaga-Obioha Creative Director

Future Space

How audiovisual technologies are changing where we work, learn, and hang out. By Margot Douaihy Technology is changing the way we think about work and life, which, in turn, impacts the places where we work and live. We’re on the cusp of dramatic change, and AV is playing a pivotal role.

22 Better Screen Time

The curation of sound and video is creating memorable experiences in retail, hospitality, and attractions.

By Kirsten Nelson Retail and hospitality professionals must now deliver greater levels of immersive engagement so

Sam Molineaux, Hank Wieland Copy Editors David McGee Content Manager Hanane Abdalla; Cindy Davis; Margot Douaihy; David Labuskes, CTS; Krystle Murphy; Kirsten Nelson; Lisa Perrine, CTS; Pete Putman, CTS; Allison Tardif Contributors Fred Vega Production Manager

of design is occurring: The same technologies that feed screen time are being harnessed in new

Nicole Cobban Managing Design Director

long been vital to creating atmosphere; today they’re equally important for making connections, capturing attention, and building a new energy that keeps people coming back for more.

28 It’s a BrAVe New World

InfoComm’s long-time explorer of future trends talks about their impact on audiovisual solutions. By Pete Putman, CTS

Here are a few of the technology trends that will redefine audiovisual experiences in the years ahead. Catch them at InfoComm 2019.

DEPARTMENTS

Letter From the Editor By Brad Grimes, Senior Director of Communications, AVIXA

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Anthony Savona Managing Editor Megan A. Dutta Content Director

that people will actually look up from their own personal screens. In these spaces, a delicate feat and carefully curated ways to enhance the human experience. Video, sound, and lighting have

8

Barbara Blaskowsky Audience Development

34 Solutions

Sampling of the AV solutions companies will be showing on the InfoComm 2019 exhibit floor.

Walter Makarucha, Jr. Design Director ADVERTISING SALES Adam Goldstein VP/Market Expert, AV/Consumer Electronics & Pro Audio Janis Crowley, Zahra Majma, Deborah Rosenthal FUTURE US, INC. Christine Shaw Managing Director/ Senior Vice President

50

Final Thought Shaping Culture With Digital Public Interactives By Cindy Davis

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CONTENTS THE HUB

10 Google’s User-First Approach to Audiovisual Solutions The audiovisual designers

and engineers at Google have

10 11

THE CATALYST

44 Hungry for Audiovisual Experiences

As more markets adopt AV to help drive business results, new opportunities take shape.

a new way of thinking about

By Brad Grimes

enterprise AV: Rather than

Audiovisual solutions are all around us. There isn’t an industry

consider each installation a

sector, walk of life, or corner of the human experience

unique system, they approach

that isn’t touched by AV. That’s meant a growing market for

every type of AV solution they develop as a mass-produced

solution providers and a world of possibility for the people and

consumer product.

organizations that purchase AV solutions.

Bringing Live Events to the Office

According to Kyle Hogan of Expedia’s HomeAway vacation rental marketplace, corporate events don’t have to be tired, boring affairs — all presentation, no sizzle. This from someone with a vast production background: Hogan’s gone from mega churches to turning company “all-hands” meetings into “hands-on” engagement. AVIXA asked him how companies create experiences that employees look forward to.

11

Workplace Transformation Trends to Watch It’s not a revelation that the corporate workplace is

transforming. CEOs demand speed. There are also high stakes for attracting and retaining a talented workforce, and professionals seek flexibility to work when and where they want. These factors are leading companies to invest in pro-AV products and services.

12

The Three Cs of Digital Signage

Laura Davis-Taylor, Co-Founder of retail experience consultants HighStreet Collective, and Adrian Weidmann, Founder and Principal of StoreStream Metrics, know what technology works and what doesn’t in the battle for shoppers’ attention.

13

47 The Power of Audiovisual Experiences

Taking the message of better business outcomes to markets

47

poised to capitalize on AV solutions. By David Labuskes, CTS, CAE, RCDD

Passenger Terminal Expo is one of the largest airport trade shows in the world — a dynamic, global gathering of industry executives and solution providers focused on reimagining air travel. I’ve been through airports all over the world, and it’s exciting to see so many investing so heavily in audiovisual solutions to improve the passenger experience and boost operational performance.

49 Starting at ‘Why?’

Designing an audiovisual solution begins with understanding its purpose.

By Lisa Perrine, CTS

Creating Retail and Hospitality Destinations With Sensor-Driven AV

The concept of “purpose” — the real reason behind an event,

In a world of Amazon and Airbnb, how do stores and hotels

days. But for too long, technology professionals have been

compete? By creating destinations and experiences that

hesitant to ask customers, “What’s your project’s purpose?”

customers can’t get anywhere else — immersive spaces that

We may ask how they’re going to use a room, or a piece of

trigger personalized, meaningful connections.

equipment. But how often do we understand the business

activation, or technology purchase — is a common theme these

rationale for our clients’ technology investments? The “why?”

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FROM THE EDITOR Everyone at AVIXA is gearing up for InfoComm 2019, to be

people experience the world

held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando,

around them; and acting as

Fla., June 8-14. We hope to see you there. In addition to

a catalyst for market growth,

being a showcase for thousands of innovative products and

through research and analysis,

a venue for training and education, InfoComm has quickly

industry awareness efforts, and

become something bigger: A place where solution providers

professional

and customers begin to envision the total impact audiovisual

as certification and standards,

experiences can have.

that build a stronger workforce.

programs,

such

“What are these experiences?” you ask. They’re what

The annual InfoComm show is

happen when AV professionals — in close coordination with

the most visible manifestation

the people who use AV systems — combine the right content,

of AVIXA’s joint commitment to

space, and technology to achieve the perfect outcome.

acting as a hub for the industry

An AV experience can happen in a conference room, a

and a catalyst for its growth. We

performance venue, or out in public, where impactful digital

think Xperience, AVIXA’s official

signage or video art engages people. An AV experience is AV

publication, also reflects our mission.

done right, and it’s this industry’s unique value proposition.

Within these pages are real-world examples of AV solutions and the impact they have. The feature “Future Space” (page 14) explores the way AV solutions factor into evolving work, learning, and public spaces. You’ll also find insight into ways of delivering AV experiences that have impact. In “The Hub” section (page 10), learn how Google develops AV systems from a user perspective. And we certainly didn’t leave out the essential building blocks of all this experience design: the new AV solutions (page 34) and technology trends (page 28) that will keep this industry innovating for decades to come. To experience all this first hand, register to attend InfoComm 2019 at infocommshow.org. And visit us throughout the year at avixa.org, where you can gain insight into AV experiences, the markets embracing them, and the market intelligence (page 44) you need to make the most of technological opportunity. Thanks for reading,

AVIXA is the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association, which is committed to a pair of key initiatives: being an industry hub of content and community, bringing

Brad Grimes

together AV providers and users to help change the way

Senior Director of Communications, AVIXA

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THE HUB Google’s User-First Approach to Audiovisual Solutions PHOTOS: GOOGLE

The audiovisual designers and engineers at Google have

to create. Their goal is for users to walk into a space and be

a new way of thinking about enterprise AV: Rather than

able to intuitively use each product. A product roadmap

consider each installation a unique system, they approach

guides the project.

every type of AV solution they develop as a mass-produced

Google’s AV team brings in “non-AV” colleagues with UX

consumer product. “The idea is not that we are building a

expertise to consider human factors and the usability of the

system; we are building a complete product that ships to

system. Those UX professionals are also employed to test

one of our global locations and is ready to be installed,”

the system. Then the product is tested with a sample user

says John Arpino, CTS-D, Manager of Audiovisual Design for

population.

Google. “Everything is considered, down to the packaging.”

Once the AV products are deployed, Google engineers use

The AV “products” they deliver include everything from

telemetry to collect data from the field and identify issues

webconferencing-enabled auditoriums to background audio

or develop new feature sets. Just like Google’s consumer

systems used in Google’s onsite cafés and gyms. The sheer

products, these AV products are built as platforms that can be

size of Google and its company culture drive the product

updated for continued evolution after they’ve been deployed.

approach to AV. Everything needs to work throughout a global

This eliminates the need to constantly update hardware.

operation where work teams often have members spread

Using the product approach decreases the amount of

across continents. Google’s famously innovative company

support needed, increases the speed of installation, and

culture and tech-first identity means that employees have

boosts user satisfaction. Applying design thinking and user-

very high expectations for user experience (UX) and system

experience engineering principles to the management of

performance.

enterprise AV has the potential to revolutionize the work of

The approach borrows concepts from how other Google

AV professionals in large organizations. —Allison Tardif

engineers develop the company’s popular technology products we all use. They start by thinking about the needs of all potential users (installers, support staff, regular users, one-time users) and the type of user experience they want

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 Learn how Google scales AV across its global enterprise during InfoComm 2019, June 8-14. Information and registration are at infocomshow.org.

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Bringing Live Events to the Office According to Kyle Hogan of

and it creates a broadcast environment

Expedia’s HomeAway vacation

rather than just another static videocon-

rental marketplace, corporate

ference. We use the equipment to produce

events don’t have to be tired,

our “all-hands” events with the CEO and

boring affairs — all presenta-

broadcast them to our employees globally,

tion, no sizzle. This from some-

such as in Singapore, London, Marseille —

one with a vast production

all those offices enjoy tuning in.

background: Hogan’s gone from mega churches to turning com-

As someone who clearly sees value in

pany “all-hands” meetings into “hands-

implementing these technologies, how

on” engagement. AVIXA asked him how

do you make the business case for this

companies create experiences that em-

kind of solution?

ployees look forward to.

One way is through employee engagement. If you present a better product,

Tell us again: How’d you get where you are?

then employees will be better engaged.

Kyle Hogan: I came from the church

There are people who have been with the

broadcast production world — think large

company for a long time who thanked me

mega-churches where you have multiple

because they see the difference. Also,

cameras, lighting, switchers — the full suite.

CEO time is valuable, C-suites’ time is

Stepping into the corporate world, we

valuable, employee time is valuable. Do

were originally doing standard events and

you want to hold meetings they all just

it was just very stale. Single camera, super-

show up to, or do you want everybody to

wide shot to try and get everybody in the

be engaged? That was our pitch.

frame. I was brought on-board particularly to take the events at HomeAway up

How do you see AV evolving in the next

a couple notches by implementing knowl-

few years?

edge from my production background and

I see a big transformation in the workplace.

bringing it into corporate events.

Like what we’re doing right now: I’m in my home office and we’re able to have a full

And how were you able to kick it up a

conversation. AV technology will unlock a

notch by applying your live production

huge amount of capability when it’s used

know-how?

to free up people to work and live the way

For starters, by enhancing what we had to

they want. —Hanane Abdalla

work with. We still use videoconferencing codecs, but instead of relying on built-in cameras, we set up our own, plus switchers with multiple computers feeding into them. So we now have manned cameras

 Catch HomeAway’s Kyle Hogan at InfoComm 2019, June 8-14, as part of the show’s Seminar & Workshop program. Information and registration are at infocomshow.org.

Workplace Transformation Trends to Watch In 2019, corporations are expected to spend $40 billion globally on pro AV, according to the AVIXA Industry Outlook and Trends Analysis (IOTA). Jean Rosauer, CMO Consultant for Fuel Growth Group, sees personalized collaboration as a major workplace trend. “This is the ability for people to choose the collaboration app or device that fits their needs and enables them to join in with their team,” says Rosauer. “Having devices that work with mobile applications provides even greater flexibility. Remote workers and office workers are able to have a similar user experience, pressing the same green button to join a meeting, regardless of whether it is in the meeting app or on the device.” The ability to create uninterrupted workstreams is another big trend, according to Sandeep Mehra, Vice President of Webex Devices for Cisco. “By combining collaboration and productivity tools into one experience, teams can reduce the time it takes to gather information and share it.” Another trend in the corporate workplace is creating smart spaces that are accessible to everyone. Mehra says that, to be more agile, companies are moving from hierarchies to small, empowered teams. They work together more informally, less scheduled. Team members can be co-located or work from any location. This new flexible work style has led to the surge in huddle spaces: small offices and rooms and open spaces where teams can quickly and informally gather to get work done. Huddle space devices need to enable teams to connect with each other, share content, and co-create, he adds. For example, there’s no more huddling around a laptop screen — having a wireless share device that can be connected to a monitor makes it easy for anyone entering a meeting room to instantly share content on a big screen. —Krystle Murphy  At InfoComm 2019, June 8-14 in Orlando, Fla., Cisco’s Sandeep Mehra will present a session titled Workplace Transformation Trends to Watch. Visit infocommshow.org for more information.

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THE HUB The Three Cs of Digital Signage Laura Davis-Taylor, Co-Founder of retail experience consultants HighStreet Collective, and Adrian Weidmann, Founder and Principal of StoreStream Metrics, know what technology works and what doesn’t in the battle for shoppers’ attention. They also know that good analytics and scientific insight can help create a retail environment that leads to sales. But how do you build a system that can generate useful analytics? When it comes to digital signage design, they follow the three Cs.

The digital signage’s location and surrounding environment is an important consideration in any in-store retail marketing program.

commercial spot. “You have to be able to measure that,” says

Context

Davis-Taylor, “so you can go back to those who are relying

Context starts with where the digital sign will be located

more on their opinion, as opposed to strategic rigor, and say,

physically and what is around it environmentally. Is it busy;

‘This is what people actually did.’”

is it quiet? Is it in a subway as opposed to a store? Can you feasibly install the proper system or systems to measure behavior around it?

Content

A good digital signage content playlist matches both context

In most cases today, companies are using embedded

and the customer. For this, Davis-Taylor has a golden rule:

cameras with their digital signage, and they’re starting to add

“Fast people, slow images. And slow people, fast images.” With

emotion tracking and increasingly precise facial recognition.

point-of-purchase displays, digital signage designers need to

They can even detect how a viewer’s eyes are moving; not just

make a quick impression. However, if people are sitting for any

their face. From there, context includes factoring in existing

length of time, like in a subway or waiting room, they may be

security cameras to track the paths people take around a

more open to looking at long-format video content.

digital sign. Combine that information with gaze-tracking on

Testing for a successful connection with viewers requires

digital screens, and you can begin to figure out how many

measurement of each individual segment within a playlist.

people saw your digital signage content.

Capturing signage views is the first step, but now it’s increasingly common to use emotion-recognition analytics

Customer

to measure sentiment. “Sentiment drives intent,” Davis-

Related to context are questions about the customer. Who

Taylor says. “If someone looks at your digital sign, but the

is the potential viewer and how is that person behaving? A

content isn’t useful or perhaps even elicits a frown, you’ve

viewer sitting on a subway might spend more time looking at

probably lost an opportunity. But positive sentiment opens a

a screen than someone in a distractive store environment.

new line of questioning: What did they do after they looked

Analytics can help a retail client get to know its customer, especially in cases where the retailer might be reluctant to

at your sign?” If you’ve got all three Cs clicking, maybe they bought something! —Kirsten Nelson

use anything other than long-form video content common in traditional marketing and advertising. Data can help prove that when potential viewers are hurrying past a screen in a busy store aisle, they’re not pausing to watch a 30-second

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 Laura Davis-Taylor and Adrian Weidmann will present “Optimizing Digital Signage Design with Retail Behavioral Analytics” on the InfoComm 2019 Center Stage.

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Creating Retail and Hospitality Destinations With Sensor-Driven AV PHOTOS: ZUZOR

In a world of Amazon and Airbnb, how do stores and hotels compete? By creating destinations and experiences that customers can’t get anywhere else — immersive spaces that trigger personalized, meaningful connections. Brian Dyches, an authority on global retail design, and Tammuz Dubnov, Founder of the experiential technology company Zuzor, have worked with many hospitality and retail brands to transform their locations into destinations. “A destination is an environment where you feel like you can sit, relax, enjoy, get perspective, be inspired, and learn. It fits into the actual lifestyle of the individual,” Dyches says. Brands can use a variety of approaches to turn a space into a destination, from taste and smell to

Zuzor has worked with hospitality and retail companies to transform locations into interactive destinations.

a great customer service experience. Companies that have

an adult approaches the screen. Through body gestures,

successfully made the shift, according to Dyches, include

customers can also choose what they want to see.

the Nike Flagship store in New York, Moxy Hotels by Marriott,

So far, say Dyches and Dubnov, guests and customers have

and the Rainforest Café. Nike invites customers to a lab to

reacted positively to these experiences — when they even

personalize their shoes, while Moxy Hotel lobbies reflect

realize what’s happening. In some cases, like in one Westin

where they’re located, whether Seattle or New York, offering

hotel project, children caught onto the interactivity before

guests a city-specific experience. The Rainforest Café uses

adults did.

sound, lighting, and temperature to engage all five senses in a unique dining experience.

Dubnov thinks most AV integrators and designers are ready to start adding sensor-driven elements to projects with just

According to Dubnov, many companies have not fully

a few new tools and insights. The idea that video walls can be

explored how to use audiovisual technology to create a

filled and continually updated with user-driven, interactive

sense of destination. New solutions, like sensor-driven and

content solves an ongoing issue for a lot of AV professionals

augmented-reality (AR) experiences, can help put a brand

and end users: how to fill the content pipeline. Moreover,

on the map. Among Dubnov’s projects, video walls of static

experiential content engages audiences, drawing their

content come to life when a customer engages with them.

attention for longer periods of time (and, if truly engaging, it

These interactive AR installations make the viewer an active

ends up on social media). —Allison Tardif

participant in the message. The displays can sense the person and cue the appropriate content. If a child approaches the video wall, it can play child-friendly content from Disney, for example, and then switch to a message from Budweiser when

 Brian Dyches and Tammuz Dubnov will explore interactive content at InfoComm 2019, June 8-14, as part of the show’s Seminar & Workshop program. Learn more at infocomshow.org.

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FUTURE SPACE How audiovisual technologies are changing where we work, learn, and hang out. BY MARGOT DOUAIHY

W

alk into a company run by today’s digital natives

it’s via video — and not just in dedicated executive suites,

and you may find a space characterized not

but everywhere. Some workers are collaborating in person;

only by its floor plan, but also by its adaptability.

others are patching in from distant offices and interacting

Think mobile devices everywhere, but no assigned desks; collaboration technology throughout. When people meet,

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with the same content and tools. Although this “agile office” is not yet mainstream, it’s on the

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change. In 2005, tech workplaces dedicated 89 percent of space to individual desks. Today it’s 25 percent, and by 2025, individual desks may not exist.” These open, collaborative workspaces have their upside, but they also present challenges. A recent Harvard study found that open-plan offices can hurt productivity because workers feel they lack privacy — being able to hear everyone all the time tends to be either distracting or cause enough to stop talking altogether and actually decrease collaboration. Audiovisual solutions can play a critical role turning the modern, open workspace into a productive space. AV ecosystems, such as Plantronics’ Habitat Soundscaping, combine audio and video components — as well as nontechnical physical elements — to create offices that are Plantronics’ Habitat Soundscaping combines audio and video components — as well as non-technical physical elements — to create offices that are more conducive to collaboration.

more conducive to collaboration. Imagine video displays that appear to be windows or skylights, sounds of nature — specifically flowing water — playing through hidden

PHOTOS: PLANTRONICS/POLY

horizon, due in part to the ubiquity and increasing usability

speakers, and soothingly lit, modular waterfalls. Plantronics

of audiovisual (AV) solutions, such as videoconferencing and

has reimagined its own Santa Cruz, Calif., offices with its

shared computing interfaces. A similar evolution is happening

technology to create an integrated experience. It’s not just

in classrooms, where learning spaces are being reimagined to

the sound of water that employees find calming; actually

foster better interaction and group work.

seeing water — live or on-display — helps complete the

Technology is changing the way we think about work and life, which, in turn, impacts the places where we work and live. We’re on the cusp of dramatic change, and AV is playing a pivotal role.

cognitive circuit and creates a peaceful environment that reduces the distractions of an open office. At other companies, the AV experience starts where people often get their first impression: the lobby. Lobby experiences can help energize employees and engage

Workspace Design: Ready for Anything

visitors. Take, for example, eBay’s Main Street location in

Corporations are the biggest purchasers of AV solutions.

Silicon Valley, created by ESI Design, built by AV integrator

One important reason: Technology-equipped companies

Diversified, and brought to life with content imagined by

are better positioned to recruit and retain top talent.

multimedia studio Float4.

According to AVIXA’s Industry Outlook and Trends Analysis

Upon entering the lobby, employees, partners, and

(IOTA) report, “a growing faction of corporate America is

visitors are immediately greeted by technology that tells

attempting to create more innovation by bringing employees

the company’s story. Custom-fabricated LED columns and

back to home base. AV technology implementation is the way

interactive touchscreens display content that intermingles

for companies striving to make the office ‘the place to be,’ in

with the environment. The lobby’s centerpiece is a 15-foot

part by improving user experiences.”

videowall where employees and visitors can tap product

Such environments can empower employees to work in

icons to see how many sold recently on eBay.

ways that match their individual strengths. Technology-rich,

“Main Street has infused so much more energy and pride

multipurpose spaces can also breathe new life into stagnant

in our employee base,” says Wendy Jones, Senior Vice

practices and foster more efficient workflows.

President of Global Operations at eBay.

With the growing demand for flexible AV in the workplace

Collaboration technologies, then, are the glue that holds

comes the need for flexible office designs. Research by

together this energized, mobile, tech-savvy workforce.

design and architecture firm Gensler shows that “coworking

“Video-based collaboration will fuel improved connection

has become an essential element to navigating constant

and communication among employees in the workplace and

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PHOTOS: DIVERSIFIED

The lobby in eBay’s Silicon Valley location was created by ESI Design, built by AV integrator Diversified, and brought to life with content imagined by multimedia studio Float4.

remote colleagues, clients, and consultants,” says Craig Park, Principal Consultant at The Sextant Group. But for all the technical acumen of today’s workers, and their aversion to outdated business practices, collaborative audiovisual solutions deployed in a modern office must be easy to use. There’s no time for onerous bug fixes or downtime. Employees already have many screens in their lives. They expect multi-screen, dynamic workspaces that they can enter instantly for visual immersion. And the AV

and the trained professionals to implement them, to create

implemented today must be agile enough to support the next

breakthrough growth,” says Keith Denham, Managing Principal

great killer app or workgroup paradigm, whatever it might be.

and National Director of CohnReznick Advisory. “We created

New York accounting firm CohnReznick built what it calls

the Innovation Lab to help clients build a renewed business

an “Innovation Lab” in its Manhattan office, giving clients the

culture that’s fast and nimble, seizing opportunities before the

ability to brainstorm business solutions with CohnReznick

competition, to get ahead and stay there.”

staff quickly and efficiently through a combination of AV

According to CohnReznick, its teams are now 60

systems, proprietary software, and data. Software that lets

percent faster at solving problems, and, from an operations

users edit and manipulate documents, videos, graphics, and

standpoint, they have become 45 percent more cost-

more on multiple displays, plus a matrix of large touchscreens,

efficient since implementing the Lab’s AV solution. And as

form the foundation. The space also includes cameras for

good as the remote-collaboration capabilities have been,

videoconferencing and microphones embedded in the

CohnReznick has found that design and strategy work is

room’s ceiling to provide pickup coverage for all seats. The

especially effective when participants are physically in the

company put additional videowalls in its Chicago and New

lab where they can interact with the AV collaboration tools.

York City offices so remote participants can join sessions.

“Because the workspace allows us to collaborate in real

“Studies suggest that those organizations that successfully

time with consultants and clients in different locations,

nurture an innovation culture realize increased profit compared

our meetings have not only become more productive, but

to their peers. Unfortunately, many growth companies lack the

our team has become more aligned with clients,” says Paul

capability, including access to the latest tools and frameworks

Gulbin, Managing Director, CohnReznick Advisory.

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The Indiana University Idea Garden exemplifies the technology-rich “Thinker Space” — an environment designed to ignite student curiosity and encourage cross-disciplinary practices.

The challenge in all this? Integrating AV and collaboration

engineer and independent consultant. He’s noticed “a rise

into workspaces so that users can be productive. “The

of more intelligent automation” and standards that can help

standard worker wants to be able to use elevated technologies

employees move from room to room or system to system

without extensive training,” say Shane Springer, CTS-I, an

“without having to relearn the user interface.”

Creative Synthesis and the New Learning Space

Like the corporate campus, the college campus is ripe for innovation. From the AV clubs of yore to 4K displays in anatomy labs, audiovisual solutions and education are inextricably linked. Makerspaces, “sandboxes” with interactive displays, and interdisciplinary ideation spaces are becoming more common. But for Tim Van Woeart, Senior Project Supervisor for Digital Classroom Services at Rutgers University, active learning is still the dominant learning space trend. Active-learning rooms can accommodate small groups, host breakout sessions, and support sharing ideas in multimodal, meaningful ways. Regardless of the wired or wireless audiovisual presentation systems, “everyone seems to be getting into the collaboration dynamic now,” Van Woeart says. Active learning means giving students more agency in the process. “It’s also meeting many of the students’ needs now that were not previously met,” Van Woeart says. “Some students are learning better in smaller groups — at more of New York accounting firm CohnReznick built what it calls an “Innovation Lab” in its Manhattan office, giving clients the ability to brainstorm business solutions with CohnReznick staff quickly and efficiently.

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PHOTOS: MICHAEL FIRSICH PHOTOGRAPHY

In the lobby of Marriott’s Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel, visitors start their digital experience in the elevator corridor, where projected graphics react to their movements.

The Sextant Group’s Craig Park recognizes how active

faculty, and staff. The real value of VR, as Johnston sees it,

learning gives students more purchase, but he also says,

comes when the technology is embedded in a curriculum,

“There are multiple pedagogical models that can be enhanced

encouraging students to think, learn, and solve problems in

with AV.” When he consults with faculty, he discusses what

new and experiential ways.

teaching modality would be the best fit for their unique pedagogy, and then builds solutions around that modality.

Video

collaboration

and

online

lecture

capture

technologies make classrooms more than a physical space in

The Indiana University Idea Garden exemplifies the

a building. Designed properly to maximize acoustics, lighting,

technology-rich “Thinker Space” — an environment designed

and sightlines, and integrated with the latest AV conferencing

to ignite student curiosity and encourage cross-disciplinary

solutions, the campus space extends to rooms of students

practices. An energizing interior design and the latest

and lecturers all over the world.

collaborative technologies, including the Google Jamboard and HTC Vive, help foster innovation.

“We can do a lot more with lecture capture,” says Van Woeart, “like bringing in professors who are experts in

Virtual reality (VR) labs are also beginning to appear

their field, outside of New Jersey.” He shares the example

on campuses. At schools like William Paterson University

of a graduate-level sports management class in which the

in Wayne, N.J., VR labs are replacing obsolete spaces,

instructor, an Olympic gold medalist, taught from Jacksonville,

such as photo development rooms. The debut recently of

Fla., for 95 percent of the class. “We virtually brought her into

an affordable, wireless Oculus Quest VR system is being

the classroom,” he says. “It was an immersive experience for

heralded as a disruptor that could help democratize the

the students, with live interaction.”

emerging technology.

Whatever new technology impacts learning-space design,

“No longer do you have to go to a million-dollar space

it must be tied to a genuine student need, says Justin Rexing,

or CAVE to experience VR,” says Julie Johnston, Director

CTS-D, Audiovisual Design Engineer at Western Kentucky

of Learning Spaces for Indiana University’s Information

University and owner of the Rexing Consulting Group.

Technology Services. As VR becomes more affordable and

“We have to keep students’ perspectives in mind,” he

manageable, she says, “We need to consider putting it into

says. This requires candid discussion, a needs analysis, and

our classrooms.”

involving various stakeholders early in the process. Rexing

The Indiana University Library Virtual and Augmented Reality Lab (VR/AR Lab) is available to all IU students,

believes “wise investments in audiovisual solutions can dramatically elevate the classroom experience.”

“Because the workspace allows us to collaborate in real time with consultants and clients in different locations, our meetings have not only become more productive, but our team has become more aligned with clients.” —Paul Gulbin, Managing Director, CohnReznick Advisory

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PHOTO: LEYARD

Twelve ground-level windows of the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City have been transformed into Coolture Impact, a public, interactive videowall display composed of large LED screens.

Engaging Experiences — in Public

And after a day of work or learning, people continue to move

the AV integrator that pulled the project together, along with technology manufacturer Christie Digital.

through spaces imbued with new audiovisual technology.

In Dubai, at the 680,000-square-foot City Walk mall,

Hospitality brands — hotels and restaurants — are adding

100 million pixels of digital media and entertainment draw

AV to their designs to reflect the digital lifestyles of their

huge crowds to shop, watch multimedia shows, and simply

guests and meet expectations for a technology-driven

enjoy themselves under a digital canopy surrounded by four

experience. Malls, transportation centers, public spaces —

moving projection-mapped water curtains.

all are undergoing a digital evolution, integrating audiovisual solutions to create destinations.

And then there’s public transportation. A frenetic hub of passenger activity, the Port Authority in Times

In the lobby of Marriott’s Renaissance New York Midtown

Square, N.Y., is a gateway for interstate traffic. Now it is

Hotel, visitors start their digital experience in the elevator

also home to a clever installation of artful technology.

corridor, where projected graphics react to their movements.

Twelve ground-level windows of the Port Authority Bus

As they walk through the lobby, wall content changes,

Terminal have been transformed into Coolture Impact, a

inviting them to “play” with their surroundings. Farther

public, interactive videowall display composed of large LED

down the corridor is a virtual concierge, where guests can

screens. The videowall includes a motion-sensor, camera-

stand and point to projected images on the wall and explore

based tracking system that is custom-mounted along with

what interests them. Sensors respond to people’s motions,

the Leyard LED displays, offering passersby the chance to

activating content and helping determine where to go for

bring the digital canvases to life with their movements. It’s

dinner, take a walk, shop, or experience the city’s culture.

a place where people can enjoy themselves before or after

“It is an intricate dance between the brand’s expression in

a long journey.

the physical environment and how interactive digital media

With advances in AV technology, virtually any type of

plays a role in enhancing experiences,” says David Kepron,

space can be transformed to create new experiences and

Marriott Vice President of Global Design Strategies.

facilitate better productivity, learning, enjoyment, and

At the new San Diego Intercontinental Hotel, guests and

more. “We continue to study audiovisual experiences, such

the public can enjoy Liquid Light, a projection-art installation

as digitally immersive environments, adaptive interfaces,

displayed on a large glass façade. It’s a hyper-real, moving

and the neuroscience of customer engagement in a digital

mural displayed in Ultra High Definition. “This project is

world,” says Marriott’s David Kepron. “The influence of a

a perfect example of how many in the hospitality industry

digitally mediated culture on an emerging generation will

are stepping up their game to create an extraordinary

result in vastly different expectations.”

experience for guests,” says Jeff Irvin, Principal of Spinitar,

Dan Daley and Kirsten Nelson contributed to this story.

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BETTER SCREEN TIME The curation of sound and video is creating memorable experiences in retail, hospitality, and attractions. BY KIRSTEN NELSON

A

t practically every waking moment, time in front of the screen is an integral part of our daily lives. Whether to collaborate at work, relax at home, or escape both and find entertainment in the world, video imagery and its attendant sound and lighting are everywhere. So much screen time has created an interesting phenomenon. Fatigued by the isolation wrought by so many hours in front of screens, we are seeking new connections in the world: interacting with other people and with the physical environment around us, and welcoming a more tactile experience with the objects and products in our sphere. This is particularly true in retail and hospitality, both of which require a social element but must now deliver greater levels of immersive engagement so that people will actually look up from their screens. In these spaces, a delicate feat of design is occurring: The same technologies that feed screen time are being harnessed in new and carefully curated ways to enhance the human experience. Video, sound, and lighting have long been vital to creating atmosphere; today they’re equally important for making connections, capturing attention, and building a new energy that keeps people coming back for more.

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PHOTOS: PERCH INTERACTIVE

Neiman Marcus Tries Digitally Interactive Shopping A pioneering brand in the luxury retail space, Neiman Marcus

The shelf and display are powered by technology

has cultivated a chic and inviting vibe for more than a

developed by Perch Interactive, a provider of customized

century. Shoppers who visit any of its 42 locations have come

dynamic video experiences for retail. The elements of each

to expect both the warmth of the store’s Texas roots and the

Perch Shelf are carefully calibrated to match a brand’s

cool sophistication of fine wares in opulent surroundings.

style, engage customers, and deliver content that furthers a

Since opening its doors in 1907, Neiman Marcus has proudly

business goal. It also has built-in analytics to help retailers

evolved with the times, proclaiming that it continues to “stay true

discover what works and what doesn’t when trying to drive

to the principles of our founders while reinventing the shopping

sales.

journey for the luxury customer of today and tomorrow.”

Shoppers are lured by customized content to move toward

True to form, Neiman Marcus recently experimented with a

a sales display and pick up an object, such as a high-heeled

new interactive shopping experience. As they visited various

shoe. This action prompts a sensor to trigger additional

departments, shoppers were greeted with a new form of

content relevant to the shoe, which further encourages the

retail spectacle intended to attract attention and sense their

customer to learn more about the brand, including product

interest, and further, provide information in an engaging

details, color options, pricing, and related styles. The

manner. While this may sound like a regular encounter with

interactive display can also suggest clothing and accessories

a sales associate (and there are still plenty of those to keep

to complete a look.

people happy at the stores), this was actually a technological interaction.

The information-rich experience is similar to browsing product options on a website, but with the added bonus of

Elevating the trend of video displays in retail to a more

the tactile experience and the opportunity to consult with a

Neiman Marcus level, the store field-tested what’s known

sales associate for more context or to try things on for size.

as the “Perch Shelf.” Not just any shelf, the platform

“It’s a holistic approach,” says Trevor Sumner, CEO of

includes a 48-inch interactive touch screen, embedded

Perch Interactive. “We create tools that help the sales

in an aesthetically pleasing design in the retail display that

associates. This is a trend we’re seeing across retail…. Every

enhances the sophistication of the space.

time you have friction in the process, you have fall out. You

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At Neiman Marcus, shoppers can pick up an object, such as a high-heeled shoe, which prompts a sensor to trigger additional content relevant to the shoe.

need to look at what are the frictions and what are the joys

percent boost in women’s shoes purchases, and a 45 percent

that we need to complete a purchase.”

increase in sales of men’s footwear over the testing period.

Digital displays are essentially blank canvases that can be

Moreover, customer engagement and dwell time were

updated frequently without much overhead. Each object on

measured at 6 to 14 times what they were with traditional

a shelf can relate to separate content, optimizing that space

displays.

for information and branding.

“It’s all about connecting the different experiences and throwing out the idea that the physical and the digital are

yielded positive results. According to numbers shared by

separate channels,” Sumner explains. “It’s about recognizing

Perch, there was a 20 percent increase in handbag sales, a 39

that the customer is the channel.”

Connecting a Community at Ace Hotels

A haven for creatives since its first location opened in Seattle in 1999, Ace Hotel continues to cultivate its reputation as a

PHOTO: ALEXA VISCIUS

Evidently, Neiman Marcus’s foray into interactive displays

contemporary refueling station for artists on the road and the locals who collaborate with them. As this hospitality innovator has expanded globally, its locations have become gathering places for those who follow their passion for a living. The New York Times recently credited the hotel with having pioneered coworking spaces, creating a collaborative and cozy vibe in its lobbies, and encouraging productivity with caffeine and sundry provisions such as Wi-Fi and handy power outlets. But people don’t congregate in the Ace Hotel lobby because of the power outlets. They settle in because of the atmosphere, and that atmosphere is especially resonant because of Ace’s foundational connection with local culture, specifically as expressed through music.

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The lobby of the Ace Hotel in Chicago is also a community gathering place.

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“Music has always been part of Ace’s roots,” says Ryan Bukstein, Vice President of Brand at Ace Hotel Group. “We started in Seattle as a place for bands, artists, and creatives to come through while on tour, and this ethos has been a guiding PHOTO: ANDREW MEREDITH

pulse ever since. We think of hospitality as friends taking care of friends, and that includes a sonic experience — we don’t think of music as a tool so much as an aesthetic and soulful necessity.” In fact, Ace has expanded its brand into dedicated music venues with advanced sound and video technology, including the Three Keys club at its New Orleans location and the carefully restored 1920s-era United Artists movie palace at its downtown Los Angeles location. Now known as The Theatre at Ace Hotel, the ornate 1,600-seat venue with a full cinema projection and audio system has become a destination for both L.A. locals and global fans.

The Ace Hotel London has projectors for visiting artists to use.

The collaborative spirit at Ace also extends to visual arts, with projectors available in many of its public spaces for

Most recently, the hotel launched the Double Vision festival

artists and DJ guests to utilize, and a long list of spectacles

at its Chicago location, programmed as an extension of two

such as the Joshua Light Show in London and several live

of the city’s largest annual live music events. “We wanted to

music accompanied screenings at The Theatre at Ace in

create a space for visiting artists to connect directly with the

Los Angeles.

community through the activation of our public spaces in performances, DJ sets, visual art, and more,” Bukstein says.

In the crowded Ace Hotel lobbies, guests are encouraged to participate in all kinds of technology-based arts; the spaces

The Ace Hotel also provides support for audio recording

are often used for code-athons and other gatherings geared

through its Studio A program. Hoping to encourage artists

toward new segments of creators and makers. “At Ace, we

to experiment and record new works during their stay, the

respond and add to the beautiful noise in our communities,

program provides loaner recording gear such as mics, synths,

offering a platform for local and international artists and fans

and mixers. “Groups like Flatbush Zombies have utilized

to come together and celebrate the abundance of talent in

Studio A to create films and music at the hotel,” Bukstein

unique, compelling, and multilayered ventures,” Bukstein

notes, adding that there are plans to build dedicated

says. “As individuals, we’re super fans. In this way, there’s no

recording studios in future locations.

separation between who we are and what we do.”

Tut Exhibit is a 21st-Century Experience For the 100th anniversary of the discovery of King Tut’s tomb,

With all the elements of a full-scale touring stage show,

the pharaoh’s most dazzling objects of 3,300 years ago have

IMG’s production of King Tut: Treasures of the Golden

met with modern spectacle in a new touring exhibition that

Pharaoh was carefully calibrated to deliver on the tactile

will hit 10 cities around the globe. The show’s more than

promise of precious historical objects while also satisfying

150 artifacts, 60 of which have never previously left Egypt,

the modern craving for immersive entertainment.

shimmer in any light, but as they travel the world on this

The job of readying the electronically enhanced pedestal

unprecedented six-year run, they’ll have some extra help

for this latest globe-circling jaunt of Tut’s fascinating

from technical showmanship.

ephemera was awarded to Canadian systems integrator Design

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PHOTOS: DESIGN ELECTRONICS

King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh was carefully calibrated to deliver on the tactile promise of precious historical objects while also satisfying the modern craving for immersive entertainment.

required some extra finesse to maintain the spell as visitors take escalators to other levels. Designed to entrance visitors as they enter more exhibits focused on discovery and archaeology, “The Wishing Cup” 3D Electronics. In selecting the technologies that would spotlight

immersive experience features projections that appear as if

artifacts and captivate visitors’ attention, the focus was always,

glowing across an opaque surface. Spoken narration explains

“How could we take these amazing artifacts and have the

why the artifact was hidden, explains Williams, and “then

electronics — audiovisual, sound, and lighting — enhance the

there are sound effects, like something is being chiseled away.

experience,” says Khalil Williams, General Manager of Design

And as it’s chiseled, the opaque image falls away, and you see

Electronics. “We wanted to paint the picture with sound and

the reveal to the tomb,” he says. The illusion was created in

video, and take the guest there by creating an immersive

collaboration with exhibit designer Fricker Studio, fabricator

environment that engages several of the senses.”

Cinnabar and lighting designer Brad Malkus of Lightswitch.

That immersion begins with the show’s intro theater

The Tut exhibition was such a crowd-pleaser, its closing

experience, which features a 180-degree video presentation

date and opening hours were extended at its premiere

designed to create an “ethereal” effect with tales of stars

location at Los Angeles’ California Science Center. It has

and gods. To achieve the feeling, Design Electronics opted

now moved on to its European engagement, where in March

for a 23-foot-wide, 7-foot-tall curved screen that was

it opened at the Grande Halle de la Villette in Paris. Having

raised so viewers were gazing upward as if into a night

spent time observing visitors as they traveled through the

sky. Additionally, another layer of sensory experience was

exhibit, Williams notes, “It’s interesting, because you do get

added to complete the effect: “We use sound to spatially

the ‘wow’ moments with the technology, but you also very

create the effect that you are passing along with Tut,”

much get the ‘wow’ moment with the artifacts. The blend

Williams explains.

of the audiovisual and the actual artifacts helps visitors

Sound and video are paired together in various ways

understand why the artifacts are so important. It’s essential

throughout the exhibition, helping to carry the thread of a

to give people a reason to get out and leave their homes

mystical experience. The massive show, which will often

— just like going to see a movie, you want to have the best

be housed across multiple floors of the museums it visits,

audiovisual experience.”

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IT’S A BRAVE NEW WORLD InfoComm’s long-time explorer of future trends talks about their impact on audiovisual solutions. BY PETE PUTMAN, CTS

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PHOTO: LG

LG’s OLED videowall

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I

f you monitor developments in mainstream electronics,

there is little profit in making them. That’s what’s behind the

you’ve surely noticed how short the technology pipeline

move to 8K panels, which are being constructed on even

has become. By “pipeline,” we mean the time between

larger fabrication lines. And it’s not just about more pixels

when a new technology debuts as little more than a prototype

on the screen: The displays are getting larger, with 65-inch,

to when it’s available as a mass-market product.

75-inch, 85-inch, and even 98-inch products in the pipeline.

What’s even more intriguing is how an increasing number

For several years, corporate, education, and other users

of gadgets originally intended for consumers have migrated

of display technology have been gravitating toward large

into the commercial audiovisual world. Up until the turn

LCD monitors and TVs for presentation and other purposes.

of the century, the flow of new product development was

And the move to 8K may hasten that trend once prices

predictable. Technological innovation always started in the

become competitive. Numerous markets are interested

broadcast and AV worlds with successful products such as

in 8K, including command and control, process control,

camcorders, computers, and flat-screen televisions first

virtual reality and simulation, medical imaging, mapping and

seeing light as expensive professional gear.

geography, and immersive entertainment. You’ll see more

That’s all changed. Now, the “tail wags the dog,” as analysts

than a few 8K products at InfoComm 2019.

like to say. Much of the technology we rely on every day was first developed for consumers. Think of huddle rooms where participants in a meeting collaborate and share ideas

Next-Generation Projection

wirelessly, using their tablets and smartphones. Consider

projectors, that is. Projector makers are slowly saying goodbye

the increasing number of schools and universities that are

to traditional, short-arc bulbs in favor of solid-state lighting

streaming classes and course content online using YouTube

that uses light-emitting diodes up to about 1,000 lumens and

channels. Closer to home, how about that 65-inch Ultra HDTV

laser-phosphor light engines for higher brightness levels.

with high dynamic range you just bought to watch Netflix?

Lamps are going out all over the world — the lamps inside

Although this trend has been in the works for a while, we’re

The fact is, the dividing lines between “professional” and

just starting to see prices come down. The next generation

“consumer” electronics are largely blurred, and, in many

of projectors brings obvious advantages: no lamp changes

cases, have disappeared. One good example is the so-

and a longer product lifespan. But it also represents a new,

called internet of things (IoT) category of devices, where any

innovative lease on life for a category of AV solution that has

number of products (appliances, doorbell cameras, HVAC

been under pressure from ever-larger flat-panel displays.

systems, refrigerators, and TVs) can communicate with each

Large, economical LCD screens are attractive for small-

other over a home or office wireless network. These devices

to medium-sized meeting rooms and classrooms, but at

can configure themselves and respond to commands from a

screen sizes above 70 inches, projection still represents a

voice recognition system — no keypads to push, no codes to

more economical way to create large images, especially now

enter, and no remotes to fiddle with.

that it can be achieved with no lamps to replace or filters to

Here are a few of the technology trends that will redefine

clean. And more projectors are adding image warping and

audiovisual experiences in the years ahead. Catch them at

mapping software for projection on non-linear surfaces, as

InfoComm 2019.

well as concave and convex screens — an AV experience LCD monitors struggle to create (for now).

Even Higher Resolution

Let’s start with 8K video and displays. “8K?!” you ask. To the average person, there seems to be an ongoing and illogical

The Humble LED and Flexible Screens

race by manufacturers to get to the next higher level of

emitting diode (LED) is poised to become the dominant display

resolution. Why, it was just six years ago that the first 4K/Ultra

technology. You see them everywhere nowadays as LED walls

HD displays appeared on the market, and now we’re already

and displays have moved from Times Square and stadiums to

talking about 8K. Are we being premature? Is 8K for real?

university lecture halls, student centers, corporate lobbies,

Yes and no. The display panels used in large monitors and televisions increasingly come from manufacturing lines in

Who could have seen this coming? The once-humble light-

shopping malls, airports and train stations, bank lobbies, and even background sets for TV news broadcasts.

China, and economies of scale have recently forced down

What’s made all this possible is a class of fine-pitch

the prices of finished 4K display panels to the point where

“mini” LEDs that can produce images with extreme detail,

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PHOTO: MOMENT FACTORY

LED walls and displays have moved from Times Square and stadiums to university lecture halls, student centers, corporate lobbies, airports, and shopping malls.

even when viewed at short distances. LED walls (made up of

emitting diode (OLED) displays appeal to retailers. It’s now

smaller individual tiles) can also produce very bright images

possible to make transparent (see-through) and reflective

with high dynamic range and ultra-saturated colors. Enough

(mirror) displays for unusual applications.

manufacturers are selling mini LED tiles now that pricing is becoming very competitive.

And after much rumor and development, flexible OLED displays are now being manufactured. These can be warped,

The modular nature of LEDs has great appeal for digital

curved, wrapped around poles, and even folded to fit in your

signage: They are easy to transport, can be stacked in any

pocket. At least two prototypes for foldable smartphones

configuration, and some are even being built into curved and

have been shown publicly and should be on the market by

hemispheric designs. The rental and staging market has taken

the end of this year, along with a foldable tablet. Look for

particular notice of LED displays, with the result that most

at least one manufacturer to demonstrate curved display

musical acts and many touring Broadway shows now use

technology for digital signage at InfoComm.

LED walls instead of projectors for image magnification and virtual sets and backdrops. There is a next step for LED technology, and it’s called

Wireless Connectivity

To connect everything, a new class of wireless devices will be

“micro LED,” consisting of millions of super-tiny red, green,

coming to market this year, using near-field connectivity and

and blue chips that will eventually be used for televisions,

millimeter radio wave frequencies. What that means is a wide

computer screens, tablets, and smartphones. In January,

range of connections — display, audio, control, even power

one manufacturer demonstrated a micro LED near-to-eye

— can be made simply by placing a compact transmitter

display with Full HD resolution that measured just .57 inches,

and receiver close to each other, typically within about 10

while another brand showcased a complete 75-inch micro

millimeters.

LED 8K TV.

With one technology that operates in the 60 GHz radio

What’s more, advances in display-panel manufacturing

band, you can instantly connect a tablet to a television simply

have made it possible to turn out displays in just about

by placing the tablet in a dock. You can also transfer large

any size you’d want. Super-wide, curved LCD monitors are

data files within seconds over a wireless USB connection. 8K

favored by gamers, while tall, skinny LCD and organic light-

video content has been connected wirelessly to a 75-inch

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PHOTO: SAMSUNG

4K was so last year — 8K screens are on the horizon.

TV simply by locking the back of the TV into a supporting

ability to remember where you set your light levels a few

bracket and stand. A similar approach allows individual LED

days ago and offer those settings as a suggestion. And how,

wall tiles to be removed and replaced quickly, using magnets

exactly, would the AV system communicate with you? By

to dock and hold the tile in place.

using one of the many voice recognition systems already

Other developments in wireless connectivity have

available to consumers — “Hey Google, Alexa, Siri, or

made the “cordless” classroom possible. The latest Wi-Fi

Bixby.” All these speech recognition interfaces added a new

technology, known as channel-bonding, enables anyone

wrinkle this year: You can ask any of them to recall choices

to share screens and present high frame rate video from

you made previously, from music you streamed for lunch

their mobile devices, all through a central wireless hub that

to TV channels you watched the night before or during the

connects to an external TV or display. These hubs were once

past weekend.

expensive products, but their costs have come way down in the past three years.

This form of artificial intelligence adds a key component, and that’s machine learning — the second piece of the puzzle. As you execute a series of voice or physical commands, they

AI and Machine Learning

are stored in memory as preferences. You could walk into a

Artificial intelligence has arrived. As you read earlier, IoT

meeting room and turn on selected pieces of equipment,

represents a new way to connect gadgets and devices to a

lower the lights, and activate a videoconferencing link. All

network and to each other. Most pieces of AV hardware now

of those commands together become a “macro” command

support some type of network connection (usually wired),

that can go by any name you want. The next time you enter

while smaller devices such as smartphones rely on wireless

the room, you simply tell the voice assistant to use “My

connectivity. Both types can connect easily to a network,

Room” settings, and it’s done.

which makes them discoverable to anyone (and any other

Sound far-fetched? Not at all. One 2019 premium LCD TV

device) on that network. That’s the first piece of the puzzle.

lets you control a robot vacuum, monitor your washer and

Current network-based control systems can identify

dryer, check your front door camera, surf the internet, raise

a connected device — say, a light dimmer — load the

or lower your thermostat, operate an air purifier, and order

appropriate drivers, and create an icon on a touchscreen so

takeout. Another connected TV suggests music you might

you can raise and lower the lights. That touchscreen could be

like based on previous playlists or TV programs similar to

a dedicated display in the room or it could be your tablet or

those you watched recently.

smartphone. The command strings and operation are all in

AI and machine learning have also shown up in futuristic

the background, but your operation is intuitive. Swipe up to

automobiles. One car features a camera watching your face

raise light levels and swipe down to lower them.

to see if you were driving distracted or dozing off at the wheel.

Where things get interesting is in the control system’s

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Yet another demonstration of facial recognition shows what

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One 2019 premium LCD TV lets you control a robot vacuum, monitor your washer and dryer, check your front door camera, surf the internet, raise or lower your thermostat, operate an air purifier, and order takeout. Another connected TV suggests music you might like based on previous playlists or TV programs similar to those you watched recently.

emotions you are feeling, coupled with sensors to monitor

ways to capitalize on economical, ubiquitous network

your body temperature, pulse rate, and respiratory rate. The

infrastructures.

car’s AI voice can then inquire about your well-being or alert you that you were about to drive off the road.

Prices for 10 Gb network switches continue to fall, and several options required for moving AV applications over IT networks (support for jumbo frames and IGMP snooping,

Sounds That’s All Around

to get a little techy) are now standard features. We should

One of the latest developments in audio playback is spatial

even see few 10 Gb network switches with a combination of

sound (a.k.a. 3D sound), a technique that uses multiple

CAT-6, SFP optical, and HDMI ports at InfoComm. The

speakers and some clever phasing and positioning to make

idea of a direct HDMI connection into a switch is clever, as

it sound like dialogue, music, and effects are near you —

it eliminates the need for an external codec (an encoder/

just above, behind, or zipping by. Spatial sound is the latest

decoder) and some cabling.

step in the evolution of surround sound, and perhaps the last until transducers are actually implanted in our heads.

You still need a codec at the network switch, and it will be interesting to see which formats companies adopt:

There are several flavors of spatial sound. The best known

low-latency JPEG-based versions or higher-latency, high-

is Dolby’s Atmos system, but Japanese broadcaster NHK has

efficiency MPEG (H.264 and H.265) iterations. Blue River

also shown a 22.2-channel spatial sound system to go with

NT is the underlying codec for the popular SDVoE system.

its 8K Hi-Vision television broadcasts. Microsoft includes

You’ll also hear about something called VVC (Versatile

Windows Sonic with the Windows 10 operating system and

Video Codec), the next step forward from H.265 and

it can work with both built-in speakers and headphones.

projected to be finished next year. Developers say VVC will

In January, Sony announced its 360 Reality Audio system,

help with emerging AV applications, such as 360-degree,

developed with Fraunhofer IIS and based on the MPEG-H

omnidirectional immersive multimedia and high-dynamic-

3D Audio specification. (Variations of the technique are

range (HDR) video.

used to project audio in cars: Even though the speakers are mounted in a headrest, the sound seems to be coming from the dashboard and windshield.)

Looking Ahead

These are just some of the emerging technologies and trends

Where might you use spatial sound? The most obvious

you’ll hear about in June. The question now is, how quickly will

application is virtual reality or a virtual environment you

AV integrators, experience designers, and customers across

create for viewing through specialized eyewear or on

all industries adopt them? We’re more likely to see the rapid

large, immersive displays. MPEG-H audio can be used for

adoption of advanced display technologies, for instance, than

video, movie, and music tracks, and ostensibly for a more

AI-based control systems, primarily because of security and

immersive version of videoconferencing when combined

privacy issues with the latter. But make no mistake, all these

with panoramic, high-resolution video.

technologies will find their way into future solutions. Remember: The tail still wags the dog.

AV Over IT Networks

One over-arching trend is the move away from traditional AV signal switching and distribution to network-centric signal management. Sending AV over IT networks is still relatively new, but expect to see many solution providers showing

 Join Pete Putman and other technologists at Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center for Emerging Trends Day, June 11, the “Super” Tuesday before the InfoComm show begins. More information is available at infocommshow.org.

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SOLUTIONS

MAP Features Flexible, Reconfigurable C3 Credenza  BOOTH 2500 Building off the success of its C5 Series Credenzas and based on integrator feedback, Middle Atlantic is introducing the slim-profile C3 Series AV credenza that’s sized to fit even the most space-limited boardrooms, meeting spaces, and huddle rooms. A flexible and reconfigurable racking system, its frame contains multiple notches in each bay that allow the integrator the ease of nearly endless storage configurations. Shelves can be added, removed, or reconfigured on the fly by simply snapping in or unsnapping accessories. This feature lets the integrator make final configuration decisions in the field, confidently knowing that the C3 can scale and grow as the system expands. The C3 Series Credenza fits in with today’s demanding commercial installation trends. With its minimal, 10-inch-deep footprint, itprovides installers with a space-saving solution for systems that are component intensive and have limited storage space. The C3 features a secure steel substructure that mounts directly to the wall, free from the outer wood cabinetry. From there, integrators have full visibility to load the rack, run cabling, and validate the system before sliding the finished sides and doors overtop. This ensures every piece of AV, UC, and display equipment is cleanly installed and wired for systems reliability.

 Clear-Com Clears Way for Communication Access BOOTH 6755 When your core intercom user group needs to expand or include remote users away from the main facility, providing additional communication access can be challenging and expensive. Clear-Com’s LQ Series devices and Agent-IC apps offer simple and cost-effective solutions. LQ Series devices provide intercom connectivity to link multiple systems together over IP networks. They enable users to extend intercom channels to remote locations, add mobile clients and SIP/VoIP telephony to existing intercom systems, and enable extra audio I/O for both HelixNet and Eclipse HX systems. Up to six LQ Series IP devices can be linked together in any combination of two-wire, four-wire, or four-wire with GPIO. The Agent-IC virtual intercom panel mobile app for iOS and Android provides a cost-effective and fast-to-deploy solution to allow remote teams to stay connected. Downloadable from the Apple iTunes Store and Google Play store, Agent-IC operates on smart devices, including phones, tablets, and the Apple Watch, and connects securely to multiple networks over 3G, 4G, LTE, and WiFi networks. Agent-IC complements traditional intercom systems such as the Eclipse HX digital matrix, Encore analog partyline, and HelixNet digital partyline intercom systems.

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Hitachi Kokusai Upgrades Compact Box Cameras  BOOTH 3800 Hitachi Kokusai is showcasing enhanced versions of its high-performance 1080p and 1080i compact box cameras, both now featuring firmware upgrades. New firmware for the DK-H200 1080p camera adds high dynamic range (HDR) support, while an update to the 1080i DK-Z50 further enhances its exceptional quality. The new DK-H200 update brings the benefits of HDR to the box camera format, enabling visibly superior HDTV productions with increased contrast, expanded mid-tones, and greater detail in dark and bright picture regions, thereby improving viewing experiences without the higher costs and workflow overhead of Ultra HD. The new firmware supports HDR specifications, including HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) and HPQ, which is compatible with the HDR10 open standard for consumer TVs. The DK-Z50 update improves its image quality even further, enabling closer picture matching with Hitachi Kokusai’s popular Z-HD5000 broadcast studio and field production camera. The new firmware increases the DK-Z50’s signal-to-noise ratio to greater than 60 dB while also enhancing its detail functions and characteristics. The new DK-H200 and DK-Z50 firmware updates are slated to be released in Q2 2019.

RTI VXU-SC Targets Classroom, Meeting Spaces  BOOTH 1955 To meet the need for cost-effective conferencing and collaboration solutions in classrooms and meeting spaces, RTI is now shipping its VXU-SC video conferencing and collaboration system. The VXU-SC consists of a transmitter and receiver pair that provide AV switching, video, and extension, allowing multiple users to easily share content in a meeting. In addition, USB inputs and hub enable mouse and keyboard control from any connected PC, laptop, or interactive display, while allowing inexpensive webcams and microphones to be utilized. This allows software-based conferencing solutions such as Microsoft Skype, Cisco Webex, and Citrix GoToMeeting to be used. The VXU-SC transmitter is equipped with HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA, and USB-C inputs for support of video content from a wide range of devices. To eliminate cable clutter, all signals between the transmitter and receiver are carried over a single HDBaseT link over distances up to 328 feet.

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SOLUTIONS Biamp Crowd Mics Brings Audiences Into the Action  BOOTH 3742 Biamp’s Crowd Mics audience engagement tool puts a microphone in everyone’s pocket. By leveraging the built-in mic on smartphones and tablets, Crowd Mics enables seamless audience participation by allowing audience members to speak directly into their phones and have their comments or questions shared clearly with everyone via the room’s audio system. Designed for presentations, lectures, and panel discussions, Crowd Mics supports up to 1,000 event participants. The small host device — the ATOM — is simple to set up: connect the cables to the room’s AV system, connect to the event WiFi, and go. Audio output options include USB, balanced audio outputs, or HDMI audio. Crowd Mics also includes the option to present video via HDMI and provides moderators with full access to an event’s participation log, including all questions asked and poll results. From the free iOS or Android app installed on their phone or tablet, audience members are automatically connected to the ATOM and the event moderator to ask or text questions and participate in polls. The free moderator app keeps the event moderator fully in control.

 Yamaha UC Offers SIP-compatible Video Sound Bar BOOTH 4961 Yamaha Unified Communications is featuring the CS-700 session initiaton protocol (SIP) video sound collaboration system at InfoComm 2019. Broadening the capabilities of Yamaha Unified Communications’ UC innovation, the CS-700 SP integrates PBX and UC applications to deliver high-quality audio from all communication channels and address video and collaboration requirements from one device. The CS-700 SP furthers the outstanding audio, video, and collaboration features introduced in the award-winning CS-700 Video Sound Bar with VoIP capability. With built-in connections for VoIP and USB for UC applications, the CS-700 SP enables users to achieve clear conferencing audio and video from any unified communications platform; they can also bridge VoIP and USB calls together directly from the device. Both types of communication are possible from only one wall-mounted device, eliminating the frustration of operating additional audio equipment and allowing for more efficient and clear meetings, saving valuable table real estate in huddle rooms and other small conferencing environments, and IT can quickly deploy, configure, and manage less hardware across an organization.

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SOLUTIONS  Attero Tech Unveils New In-Wall Controller BOOTH 4017 Built specifically for basic audio control applications where easy user interaction is key, Attero Tech’s new Axon C1 in-wall controller allows simple control of volume, zone source selection, and preset recall. Sporting an easy-to-read OLED display and intuitive menu navigation, the C1 makes short work of the typical audio adjustments that users need to make. The small form-factor, cost-effectiveness, and ease of programming of the Axon C1 make it an ideal option where more costly and complex touch panels are not well suited for the installation. The recently released Attero Tech unIFY v3.3 configuration software quickly lets integrators set up and customize C1 menus for exactly the options that each venue requires, without any confusing “extras” that are seldom used. The C1 single knob interface was conceived from the initial design to be straightforward for venue staff to just “walk up and use.” The Axon C1 is a fully networked control interface, supporting network control over both TCP/IP and UDP. Attero Tech has developed a Q-SYS plug-in that eases integration of the C1 in systems using QSC DSP processors. In addition to facilitating control of zone volume, sources and presets, the Q-SYS plug-in can synchronize multiple C1s which are controlling the same zone. The plug-in also allows the C1 to support room combining. Over time, other third-party platforms will be added to the list of C1 controllable gear.

Carousel DS Offers New Cloud Platform  BOOTH 333 Carousel Digital Signage’s new Carousel Cloud, a subscription-based software as a service (SaaS) platform, is ideal for businesses seeking an off-premises hosted digital signage service with limitless scalability. Carousel Cloud is especially valuable for accelerating deployments and lowering total cost of ownership across networks that use Apple TV devices as media players. Carousel Cloud brings the standard benefits of any cloud service, eliminating the expense and maintenance associated with traditional hardware servers. Instead, the new platform delivers a lightweight, software-defined architecture that is centralized within an offsite IT infrastructure, with the ability to easily scale networks. The result is an enterprise-wide digital signage platform that keeps the focus on content development and audience engagement, with expansion limited only by the size of the organization. Carousel Cloud’s centralized platform also accommodates more users from more locations, keeping playlists fresh and networks dynamic. According to the company, customers that use Apple TV devices for content playout will find additional value in migrating to Carousel Cloud from both a cost and deployment perspective.

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Shure Unveils All-in-One Wireless Conferencing Solution  BOOTH 5845 Shure is unveiling its Microflex Complete Wireless (MXCW) Conferencing System, which is designed to offer wireless freedom and flexibility for conferences, meetings, and events inside government, corporate, hotel, educational facilities, and more. Ideal for environments that need quick, intuitive setup and breakdown, the all-in-one conferencing solution is dedicated to providing exceptional audio quality, audio security, and ease of use. The wireless conferencing units — a microphone, loudspeaker, interpretation audio, controls, and touchscreen — overcome cable restrictions for use in rooms that require adaptable seating or, in historic settings, where permanent installation (like tabletop drilling) is not an option. Additionally, the lack of visible wiring meets today’s expectations for sleek, clean, setup. It also encourages natural interactions between participants who are no longer held back by connections; instead, they can move and communicate without restraint. Because a wired connection is not needed, IT managers and AV professionals can set up and configure the system in minutes. If a last-minute meeting is scheduled, users can just pull out the system and configure it for the gathering. On top of this, Automatic Gain Control technology and proprietary audio codec ensures that MXCW delivers natural, intelligible audio and consistent speech levels for all participants.

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SOLUTIONS  Visix Nano: Reliable DS in a Small Package BOOTH 2321 Visix announces its Nano player, the company’s latest digital signage hardware launch, purpose-built to provide reliable 1080p playback for digital signs in a small package that measures just 2.75 inches square. The Nano is ideal for less video-intensive applications that still require reliable performance. The Nano is Visix’s smallest and most affordable media player, with robust features such as 64 GB eMMC storage, 4 GB LPDDR4 memory for performance, and support for wired and wireless networking. It is powered by the Intel Celeron Processor N3350, and comes with a Kensington security port.

HoverCam Pilot X Gives Educators a New Tool  BOOTH 3064 HoverCam is launching the new Pilot X Wireless Digital Podium. It’s the latest addition to HoverCam’s award-winning Pilot Series, which puts the most-often-used devices — PC, document camera, keyboard, audio capture, and control — at educators’ fingertips. The Pilot X features a 13-inch tablet that can be removed from the podium, so educators can walk around the room to interact with students and content without being tied to their desk or turning their back on students to work at a screen. The Pilot X portable and fully integrated wireless digital teaching station offers similar functionality and connectivity options as the Pilot 3. The classroom solution also features a 13 MP 4K document camera and a rechargeable juice pack. The podium’s wireless HDMI transmitter beams content to any interactive flat panel, projector, or TV in resolutions up to 4K. The document camera’s built-in microphone captures the audio from classroom lessons, and, with HoverCam’s ClassFusion software, it enables interactive whiteboarding, annotation, and desktop marking for lesson recording. With ClassFusion, all notes, annotations, video, and audio of every lesson are captured perfectly in real time for students to access anywhere, anytime, and from any device or browser, making it the ideal solution for remote learning and study sessions.

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 LynTec XPC Series for Improved Control BOOTH 4154 Easy to set up, operate, and maintain, LynTec’s XPC standalone controller can control AVL systems across multiple control zones and protocols, and offers customizable step rates and delay settings for sequencing, load shedding at the circuit level for emergency off, autoon for egress lighting, a built-in timer for automated control, and more. In addition to onboard control options, the XPC controller can interface with any third-party control system that communicates with Telnet, HTTP, DMX512, sACN, or contact closure signals. The XPC features LynTec’s trusted RPC control solution that previously was only available in LynTec’s RPC series

motorized

circuit

breaker

panel, RPCM mobile distro, RPCR wallmounted relay panel, or NPAC rackmounted relay panel in a standalone 1RU rack-mounted enclosure. This eliminates the costs of purchasing preconfigured

controllable

circuit

breakers or relays while providing customers with a way to operate one or more remotely placed relay modules spread out over an extended area or venue.

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SOLUTIONS New Model Leads Magewell Pro Convert Showcase  BOOTH 2409 InfoComm 2019 will mark the first showing of Magewell’s entire Pro Convert family of devices for bringing traditional video signals into IP-based production networks using NewTek’s NDI technology. The line includes the latest addition, the Pro Convert SDI Plus standalone NDI encoder. The quartet of Pro Convert configurations offers content producers a flexible choice of input connectivity and encoding resolutions. The new Pro Convert SDI Plus and recently introduced Pro Convert HDMI Plus encode source signals into full-bandwidth NDI streams up to 1080p60 HD from 3G-SDI or HDMI interfaces, respectively. The two flagship products in the Pro Convert series natively support 4K inputs and encoding. The Pro Convert HDMI 4K Plus transforms sources up to 4096 x 2160 at 60 frames per second through an HDMI 2.0 input interface, while the Pro Convert SDI 4K Plus converts 6G-SDI signals up to 4K at 30 fps into NDI streams. The ultra-compact Pro Convert devices are ideal for both in-studio and portable field use. Value-added features for live production applications include a 1/4-inch-20 thread for standard camera-mounting accessories, preview and program tally lights, and NDI-based PTZ camera control. The units can be powered by the included AC adapter or via Power over Ethernet (PoE) for further deployment simplicity.

 Dan Dugan Shows Full Automatic Mic Mixing Line BOOTH 6249 Dan Dugan Sound Design Inc., now in its 51st year in business, will be demonstrating a comprehensive line of automatic microphone mixing products. “Dugans” are designed to work with sound mixing consoles, patching into input insert points. All current units are networkable, allowing users to build systems with large numbers of microphones. After undergoing an extensive redesign over the past several years, Dugan products now offer a wide range of connectivity options, as well as models for digital and analog I/O. Dan Dugan will be at InfoComm with the Dugan Model N, which offers full Dante functionality with AES67 compatibility; the Dugan Model M, with MADI I/O, both optical and copper; the Dugan E-3A, providing 16 channels of AES I/O and an additional 16 channels of ADAT I/O; the Dugan E-2A, with 12 channels of analog I/O and 16 channels of ADAT I/O; the Model E-1A, which has eight channels of unbalanced analog I/O with the capability of 16 channel operation via ADAT I/O; and the Model K Control Surface, which is a physical keyboard remote controller for all networkable Dugan automixers. Also at the Dugan booth: the Sound Devices 633

portable

mixer,

which

implements

Dugan’s automixing algorithm, for which it won a Cinema Audio Society award in February.

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 Peerless-AV New All-in-One Kiosk Powered by BrightSign BOOTH 3429 Ideal for indoor hospitality and retail applications, Peerless-AV will be showcasing its new second-generation All-in-One Portrait Kiosk powered by BrightSign. The new All-in-One Kiosk (KIPICT2555) features a BrightSign XT1144 Expanded I/O Player, making it perfect for a range of uses such as entertainment, wayfinding, information gathering, and more. This newest iteration of the kiosk delivers Full HD 1080p60 single video decoding, HTML support, and networked content playback, as well as an abundant set of features such as interactivity via the GPIO port, remote snapshot, live text, media feeds, and multi-zone. The kiosk’s sleek, stylish design offers the ruggedness needed for public use as well as simple installation via micro SD card, USB, or cable, and a smaller footprint. The All-in-One Kiosk’s commercial LCD display offers ten points of IR touch, creating a truly interactive experience for hotel guests and shoppers.

Digital Projection INSIGHT 4K HFR 360 Projector  BOOTH 1642 Made possible by ultra-fast frame rates and native 4K resolution, the new INSIGHT 4K HFR 360 from Digital Projection allows multiple viewers to have a unique 3D viewing experience, allowing users to see and interact with the displayed content and each other in a truly collaborative manner. Pushing the boundaries of 3D technology, the INSIGHT 4K HFR 360 delivers 360 frames per second at native 4K resolution, enabling content creators to serve three independent, high-resolution 3D views from one projector, or up to six with the addition of a second unit, all while tracking their movements and maintaining their individual perspectives from their changing positions. The possibilities for this new technology are endless. Users can create virtual rides in theme parks or immersive exhibits in museums such as a virtual tour of an ancient building or a lifelike experience with precious artifacts. Experience it first-hand at InfoComm 2019.

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THE CATALYST

Hungry for Audiovisual Experiences As more markets adopt AV to help drive business results, new opportunities take shape. BY BRAD GRIMES

Audiovisual solutions are all around us. There isn’t an industry

Analysts from global firm IHS Markit see advances in audio,

sector, walk of life, or corner of the human experience that

display technology, cloud solutions, internet of things and

isn’t touched by AV. That’s meant a growing market for

smart buildings, and artificial intelligence contributing to

solution providers and a world of possibility for the people

AV demand (see sidebar: “One-Stop Shop for AV Market

and organizations that purchase AV solutions.

Intelligence”).

“We’re at an inflection point. AV is evolving from being ‘nice-

“Say what you will about devices like Amazon’s Alexa,

to-have’ into a strategic asset,” says AVIXA Senior Director of

speaking

Market Intelligence Sean Wargo. “Take the retail sector, for

recognition — in either their current or yet-to-be-developed

example. Facing competition from online commerce, physical

forms — present significant potential,” says Sanju Khatri,

stores are set for a renaissance, based largely on their ability to

IHS Markit Director of Consulting and Strategic Advisory

integrate modern technology to create experiences that can’t

Services. “IP audio continues to take off, requiring a fresh set

be had through a web browser. Similarly, research indicates

of information technology skills among integrators. And the

that hospitality companies will spend billions of dollars on AV

growth of new direct-view LED technology is set to breathe

in the coming years to meet and exceed the expectations of a

new life into everything from digital signage to cinema.”

traveling public deeply rooted in technology.”

generally,

artificial

intelligence

and

voice

Conferencing and collaboration are leading drivers

Researchers cite several technology trends that are

of pro-AV sales. “There continues to be a growing need

poised to sustain the pro-AV industry’s current momentum.

for engagement and collaboration, particularly in the

2018 spending in pro AV

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PHOTO: FLOAT4

Montreal-based Float4 worked with developers of the Meraas City Walk in Dubai to incorporate massive LED screens throughout the mall.

corporate and education markets,” Khatri says. Other

residential AV component to the growing healthcare market,

solution areas that are driving pro-AV growth: digital

as more people age in place and require solutions to stay

signage, entertainment, and command and control. “The

connected to and engaged with healthcare professionals.

control room ecosystem is expanding. More information

What other industries are rapidly adopting AV solutions?

is coming into control rooms and more technologies are being integrated,” says Khatri. “Command and control room

Hospitality. According to AVIXA’s series of Market Opportunity

applications remain one of the most lucrative markets for

Analysis Reports (MOAR), companies in the hospitality sector

advanced display technologies.”

have sizable capital improvement plans in place. Knowing they must differentiate themselves to stay competitive,

Where the AV Goes

hospitality companies tell researchers they plan to increase

Overall, corporate AV represents the largest chunk of

their spending on capital improvements over prior years. In

industry sales, projected to reach $45 billion worldwide by

line with construction data, about 6 percent of that spending

2023. What used to be a series of disconnected flagship

— approximately $3.1 billion this year — should go toward AV.

conference rooms have become communication and

Globally, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of AV

collaboration points, tied together with networks. What were

solutions and services for the hospitality market is expected

cookie-cutter office buildings have become statements of

to be 9.1 percent through 2023.

corporate identity, brand, and culture. Where individuals

“Hoteliers used to compete by providing clean and

used to be housed in a rabbit warren of individual offices,

comfortable rooms for travelers. Restaurants earned their

open concepts with privacy rooms and huddle spaces have

reputations by serving delicious food,” says Peter Hansen,

emerged to facilitate interteam coordination. All the while,

AVIXA Economic Analyst. “Now consumers are looking beyond

some companies are using AV technology to encourage

just lodging and food. With so much information at their

telework.

fingertips and media stimulation all around them, consumers

Despite its breadth, corporate AV is among the slowest growing segments of the AV industry (about 2 percent

expect the same level of on-demand functionality and rich experience when they travel or dine out.”

annually). Others are adopting AV solutions at a greater rate. The market for AV solutions and services in healthcare, for

Retail. While it’s true that certain segments of the retail

example, is currently small but poised to grow roughly 10

market — think department stores — are struggling in the face

percent annually through 2023. As institutions continue to

of online competition, that doesn’t mean all brick-and-mortar

leverage technology to improve patient care, more facilities

retail is in danger. In fact, the opposite is true. Surveys indicate

will require AV solutions. Analysts at IHS Markit see a strong

that a younger generation of shoppers wants a communal,

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THE CATALYST engaging retail experience. Industry experts have come to call

something that blew my mind.’ We shouldn’t think a mall is

it “destination retail” or “retail-tainment,” and AV solutions

only made for shopping. It’s much more.”

play a significant role. According to AVIXA’s MOAR: Retail study, a greater share of capital investment by retailers — up to 7

Transportation. Air and rail travel continue to grow, as

percent — is earmarked for AV than in the hospitality market.

consumers shift spending from things to experiences.

Worldwide, the retail market accounted for more than $19

Operators of transportation hubs plan to invest significantly

billion in pro-AV solutions and services last year and is forecast

to ensure the travel experience is more pleasurable than it has

to grow at a CAGR of 6.4 percent over the next couple of years.

been in the past. The Airports Council International-North

The concept of destination retail is compelling and global.

America trade group says airlines and officials in major cities

Montreal-based Float4 worked with developers of Dubai’s

are planning close to $100 billion in renovations through 2021.

Meraas City Walk to incorporate large LED screens throughout

According to AVIXA’s MOAR: Transportation study, decision-

the mall that come alive with digital entertainment. Float4

makers estimate nearly 5 percent of that spending will be for

Principal Alexandre Simionescu says, “You want people to say

AV, including better public-address systems and ubiquitous

of your shopping experience, ‘Hey, go there because I saw

digital signage. Globally, according to the latest AVIXA Industry Outlook and Trend Analysis (IOTA), transportation

One-Stop Shop for AV Market Intelligence AVIXA invests in market intelligence to help AV companies and those interested in doing business in the AV space succeed. Among the available resources: • Industry Outlook and Trends Analysis (IOTA). A global, holistic view of the technology and applications offered by the pro-AV industry, including revenue estimates and projections. In addition, IOTA Spotlight reports examine discrete areas of the market, including audio equipment; conferencing hardware; control systems; LED video; managed services; and streaming media, storage and distribution. • Macro-Economic Trends Analysis (META). A comprehensive examination of economic trends and the possible impacts on pro AV, starting with an analysis of five global regions and including discussions of risks and growth opportunities. • Market Opportunity Analysis Reports (MOAR). A series of reports investigating the opportunities and challenges of working in specific markets, including corporate, hospitality, retail, sports venues, and transportation. • Pro-AV Channel Employment Report. A broad examination of employment trends in the pro-AV industry, including data on compensation and benefits. For more information, visit avixa.org/marketintel.

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was expected to generate $9.5 billion in spending on pro-AV solutions and services last year and is projected to grow 8.8 percent annually through 2023. “What’s interesting about digital signage in transportation, for example, is that the value is in perception,” says Eric Henry, President of Tightrope Media Systems’ Carousel Digital Signage. “It doesn’t change the wait time, but it helps the perception of wait time.” At London’s Gatwick Airport, operators invested in bigger, better wayfinding displays to meet customer service benchmarks. At Los Angeles International Airport, officials are piloting interactive kiosks that not only provide wayfinding and flight information, but also allow travelers to video chat with customer service representatives. In short, demand for AV solutions and services remains universally strong. Designers, influencers, and buyers of AV are finding new and innovative ways of applying the technology to their unique situations. “AV will always be able to deliver ‘wow’ moments,” says AVIXA’s Wargo. “It’s in the human-centric experiences of communication, collaboration, education, and more where AV reveals fresh possibilities.”

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PHOTO: MOMENT FACTORY/RAPHAEL OLIVIER

The stunning video display at the Singapore Airport was programmed by Moment Factory.

The Power of Audiovisual Experiences Taking the message of better business outcomes to markets poised to capitalize on AV solutions. BY DAVID LABUSKES, CTS, CAE, RCDD

Passenger Terminal Expo is one of the largest airport trade

International Airport; Jesus Saenz, Chief Operating Officer

shows in the world — a dynamic, global gathering of industry

of Houston Bush International Airport; Keith Thompson,

executives and solution providers focused on reimagining air

Principal at Gensler; and Andrew Merkin, Producer at Moment

travel. It’s where Skytrax hands out its World Airport Awards

Factory. We took the stage for a discussion of the business

and attendees explore everything from the latest baggage-

value of AV to airport design. Merkin, whose company has

handling technology to cutting-edge wayfinding and digital

created immersive, engaging AV experiences in terminals

signage. I’ve been through airports all over the world, and

at Los Angeles International Airport and Singapore Changi

it’s exciting to see so many investing so heavily in audiovisual

Airport (Skytrax’s top airport in 2018), underscored the role

solutions to improve the passenger experience and boost

AV plays in storytelling, branding, and otherwise turning what

operational performance.

might be a stressful trip into something more enjoyable.

In March, on behalf of AVIXA and all the AV industry, I

Transportation is an industry sector investing heavily

had a chance to take part in the show’s conference, along

in audiovisual technology, according to AVIXA’s market

with Maurice Jenkins, Chief Information Officer of Miami

research; our role as an industry association is to speak

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THE CATALYST

A Mark of Quality

AVIXA CEO David Labuskes (far right) participates in a panel at BDNY last fall.

working

experiences they’d created. Mary Alice

For more than 30 years, AVIXA’s

in airports — and other markets — to

Palmer of HKS and Gary Womack of Loews

Certified Technology Specialist

increase their awareness of AV solutions.

Hotels walked us through technology

(CTS) credential has been the

It’s part of a commitment by AVIXA to act

considerations for a new breed of hotels

leading certification for trained

as a catalyst for market growth, and one

being built around sports venues, such as

audiovisual professionals who

that’s taken us all over the world speaking

the Live! by Loews complexes in Arlington,

commit to a standard of industry

to audiences working in retail, hospitality,

Texas, and St. Louis.

knowledge. AV designers and

directly

to

decision-makers

transportation, financial services, sports

Since

last

InfoComm,

AVIXA

has

integrators who hold the CTS,

taken part in the International Retail

which number more than 12,000

Last fall, at BDNY 2018, a sprawling

Design

Conference;

for

worldwide,

conference and exhibition for the hotel

higher

education

the

competency, experience, and

design industry at New York’s Jacob

ALSD Design & Build forum and ALSD

ethics to deliver quality solutions

Javits Center, AVIXA delivered a pair of

International

for customers in a range of

sessions. In the first, executives from

venue operators; American Association

Marriott, W Hotels, Loews Hotels, PSAV,

of Airport Executives’ Innovation Forum;

AVIXA, in conjunction with CTS

Gensler, architecture firm HKS, and

the Intelligent Transport Conference; and

holders, constantly evaluates the

hospitality

venues, and higher education.

OEB

Global

professionals;

conferences

for

sports

demonstrate

the

markets.

Hirsch

more. At all stops, the connections made

certification to ensure it reflects

Bedner Associates joined me to detail for

have been invaluable. Bringing the AV

changes in technology, best

attendees how their companies embraced

industry into closer collaboration with the

practices, standards, and more.

audiovisual solutions in hotels. Kavitha

industries it serves creates not only better

The CTS, CTS-D (design), and

Iyer, Senior Design Manager for Marriott,

business opportunities, but also audiovisual

CTS-I (installation) have all been

explained how “AV helps create hospitality

solutions

modified in the last year to make

as theater.” Steven Upchurch, Managing

experience the world around them.

Director and Principal of Gensler, urged

David Labuskes is CEO of AVIXA, the

the industry to consider audiovisual

Audiovisual and Integrated Experience

solutions at the “visioning” stage of a

Association. For more on some of the

hospitality design in order to maximize

industries where AV solutions have an

their impact. In the second session, several

impact, plus AVIXA’s experiences engaging

of those executives dove deeper into AV

those markets, visit avixa.org.

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design

consultants

that

impact

how

people

them even stronger.  Thinking of getting your certification? Look for the new McGraw-Hill CTS Exam Guide, Third Edition, coming this year. Learn more at avixa.org/CTS.

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PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES/PEOPLEIMAGES

Starting at ‘Why?’ Designing an audiovisual solution begins with understanding its purpose. BY LISA PERRINE, CTS

Client: We want to connect both photographers and visitors through powerful imagery and stories, told in the photographers’ voices.

The concept of “purpose” — the real reason behind an event, activation, or technology purchase — is a common

AV Team: What will happen when that connection is made?

theme these days. ut for too long, technology professionals

Client: Visitors will see the world through a different lens

have been hesitant to ask customers, “What’s your project’s

and feel motivated to make positive change.

purpose?” We may ask how they’re going to use a room, or a piece of equipment, or a user interface. But how often do

The conversation went from “two videowalls” to “change

we truly understand the business rationale for our clients’

the world” in just four questions. The client’s purpose

technology investments? The “why?”

became a guiding light for the project team, which soon

Design thinking means empathizing with the users of AV

included three respected photographers who became

solutions. AVIXA and a task group of volunteers are in the

our advocates for a world-class AV solution that displayed

middle of developing a standard, User Experience Design for

66,000 photographs to 115,000 visitors in the first two years.

AV Systems, that aims to offer guidance and a set of steps

The benefits of purpose-driven projects are compelling for

professionals should follow to ensure an AV design fulfills its

both AV professionals and their clients: stakeholders aligned

purpose.

around a common vision; contracts based on long-term

A few years ago, my firm collaborated with a charitable

value versus short-term cost; and lasting client relationships.

foundation to build a public gallery. The client requested a

And if that’s not enough, most of us derive great satisfaction

pair of videowalls. We started out with our purpose questions,

from knowing why our work is important. Does leading with

and it went something like this:

purpose take more time at the beginning? Yes. Does it feel risky? Sometimes. Is the result worth it? Absolutely. The next

AV Team: What’s the most important thing we need to know about these videowalls? Client: They need to show photography and video at the highest quality.

time you start a project, give “why” a try. And keep tabs on AVIXA’s standards development, which already includes guidance for display image size, audio coverage uniformity, systems design and coordination, and more. Look for your opportunity to comment on User

AV Team: Why is the highest quality important? Client: The quality needs to be so good that the world’s

Experience Design for AV Systems. For more information, visit avixa.org/standards.

most renowned photographers will be proud to display

Lisa Perrine is CEO of Cibola Systems, a consulting and

their work here.

integration firm in Southern California. She’s a member of AVIXA’s UX Design Standard Task Group and will be

AV Team: Why is it important to attract world-class photographers?

teaching “Design Thinking for AV,” a special three-day course at InfoComm 2019 this June in Orlando, Fla.

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FINAL THOUGHT Shaping Culture With Digital Public Interactives Cultivating new understanding and awareness through technology. BY CINDY DAVIS

Digital public interactive displays are ubiquitous, from ATMs to touchscreen-enabled taxis, to electronic billboards. As digital displays and interactive software mature, designers are developing more thoughtful experiences. At the University of Texas at Dallas School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication, Dale MacDonald, Associate Dean of Research and Creative Technologies, and Heidi Rae Cooley, Associate Professor and Co-Director of the Public Interactives Research Lab, are redefining how we think of these interactive displays. Referring to digital public interactives, MacDonald explains, “We use the term to refer to creative uses of technologies for the purposes of cultivating new understanding and awareness of a place, event, process, or product. Public interactives take advantage of innovative storytelling techniques, creative modes of sociality, and community engagement to cultivate interaction, invite informed reflection, and generate conversation.”

The AIDS Quilt Touch public interactive project brings the cultural artifact to new audiences.

A notable success is the AIDS Quilt Touch interactive,

It’s important that public interactive interfaces encourage

developed to document and present digitally the AIDS

collaboration and conversation among the public, according

Memorial Quilt, the world’s largest work of community art.

to Cooley. “We are interested in encouraging people to

Displayed for the first time in 1987 at the National Mall in

reconsider technologies, to think of them as cultural and

Washington, D.C., the physical quilt covered a space larger

culture-shaping artifacts, not simply tools,” she says.

than a football field and included 1,920 panels. Now weighing

MacDonald and Cooley are pushing the boundaries of established platforms to foster greater understanding of how

54 tons and comprising more than 48,000 panels, the quilt can no longer be displayed in one place.

technologies shape the ways we relate to each other and the

But today, visitors around the country can experience an

world. “Projects developed under the ‘public interactive’ rubric

interactive digital presentation of the quilt through large,

tend to bring to the foreground the frequently unacknowledged

interactive touchscreens. It’s a powerful example of the

or little-known aspects of culture, or they inspire alternative and

impact of digital public interactives. “How else,” Cooley

innovative engagements with technologies,” says MacDonald.

asks, “does one make such a vast cultural, material artifact

Cooley says the ideation process starts with an interdisciplinary

of sociohistorical significance accessible to the public?”

group. A creative team should be willing to model new ways of thinking, doing, and sharing. “There needs to be a commitment of time and resources — broadly construed — and a willingness to fail,” she says.

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 Join Dale MacDonald and Heidi Ray Cooley for an interactive workshop at AVIXA’s TIDE Conference, June 11, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. Learn more at tideconference.com.

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Join your AV community at avixa.org.

TOGETHER, WE CAN CHANGE THE WAY PEOPLE EXPERIENCE THE WORLD. AVIXA™ members believe audiovisual technology can change how people communicate and experience the world. Just like our unique industry, we’ve got a little bit of everything. We’re part professional society, part trade association, and all about providing what you need to grow your career or your business. AVIXA connects you with the people and companies you want to meet in the audiovisual space. If you are using technology to transform communications and cultivate wonder, AVIXA is where you belong.

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Profile for Future PLC

2019 AVIXA XPERIENCE  

CONTENT, SPACE, TECHNOLOGY

2019 AVIXA XPERIENCE  

CONTENT, SPACE, TECHNOLOGY